Oswald's Mill Audio speakers are unlike anything you've ever heard before, and that's exactly how founder Jonathan Weiss intended it. OMA's speakers are modeled after the conical horn loudspeakers that were used in old movie theaters, but are updated to look stylish and cool. "We are the only company in the history of audio that has ever made conical horn loudspeakers for high-end home use. These speakers have attributes that no other speakers have," says Weiss.
While he may be clinging to the past, Weiss believes that the technology that his speakers are based off of was the best ever, and sound quality has only gone downhill since then. "While computers and chips allow us to have 10,000 songs on your iPhone, sound waves, when you try and force them into little, tiny speakers, it screws the sound up. It distorts, it doesn't sound real. What we're trying to do is to give you the best possible sound quality ever."
The company uses raw and natural materials to build its speakers, including Pennsylvania hardwoods like walnut, cherry and chestnut, and cast aluminum, cast iron and slate. The result is an "almost magical" experience. According to Weiss, "If it's done perfectly, with no distortions, it's as if Elvis, and his body, and his presence are right there in front of you. Because you're feeling exactly what he was doing. There's no translation or transliteration. It's the same waves of energy."
People have never heard this kind of sound because no one's ever made this kind of equipment.
The roots of Oswald's Mill Audio can be traced back to Los Angeles, California, when movie theaters were still using conical horn loudspeakers. Weiss worked at one of these old 1930s theaters as a teenager, and never forgot the amazing sound quality that he heard. When he was living in New York City, he noticed that a lot of these old theaters were being converted and getting rid of their ancient speakers. So Weiss started going around and collecting them before they found their way to the landfill, and he began taking them apart to see how exactly they worked.
He later bought and restored an abandoned mill, called Oswald's Mill, in rural Pennsylvania. He ended up filling it with the cinema audio equipment that he had acquired in New York City, and it became his laboratory where he began building his own speakers. And soon enough, OMA was born.
These world-class speakers aren't cheap. The company's elite model, a four-way horn system called the Imperia, has a price tag around $300,000. But if you're looking for a speaker system that will literally make you think that Elvis is in the room with you, this is the one.